Editorial: Why Silent Hill is better than Resident Evil

There are two things that make Silent Hill better than Resident Evil: the characters and the enemies.  Now, I love both series, so do not misunderstand me or flame me for “hating” on Resident EvilResident Evil may have brought the survival horror genre to the mainstream with its release in 1996, but Silent Hill has perfected it.   In this article I will describe why I feel Silent Hill usurped Resident Evil‘s crown of survival horror king.

Two great titans battle for the final time...
Two great titans battle for the final time...

Silent Hill’s characters are much more engaging than Resident Evil’s.  A majority of the Resident Evil characters are some sort of public safety officer, or ex-safety officer, who fights zombies because the zombies attacked Raccoon City.  Any other character in the game is either one of the previous characters’ siblings or some sort of mutated enemy.  All these characters are highly trained in hand-to-hand fighting and weapon-based skills, so if one of the zombies get too close, the player can easily push them away.  The Silent Hill characters are just normal people who were drawn to the town of Silent Hill by some unknown force.  These people are not trained in any sort of fighting or weapon skills, other than clumsily swinging a large axe around.  Another thing that makes these characters so engaging is the fact that all of them have some sort of mental psychosis.  The main character in Silent Hill 2 has a secret so dark that the player is not sure he or she even likes the character after the game is over.  Whereas Resident Evil’s characters are either “good” or “evil,” the characters in Silent Hill ride the line of “grey” between the two.  These character defects are often reflected in the enemies.

Zombies are so overdone; they are just not scary anymore.  Even in the newer games in the Resident Evil series, where the enemies are changed to simply mutated humans, they are still not that scary.  However, in Silent Hill, the enemies are a reflection of the main character’s secrets or neurosis.  The main character of Silent Hill 1 is attempting to find his daughter, so all the enemies look like children or child-like drawings.  Silent Hill 2 involves a man’s dark secret about a woman, so most of the enemies are feminine like in appearance, and even include one famous enemy raping another in an unforgettable scene.  The most interesting monster is in Silent Hill 3, whose female main character encounters a monster from time to time whose only purpose is to turn valves, which represent the female menstrual cycle.  I really do not think anything in Resident Evil can live up to that.

So, there are my two reasons why I feel Silent Hill is a much better survival horror game series than Resident Evil. I would love to hear what our readers have to say, so feel free to defend any point you would like to make, and even rank the games from best to worst.


  1. I’ve played all the RE games, but I only played the first Silent Hill and Silent Hill Origins, but I can say I liked the story and the atmosphere better in SH over RE. That could be because Jacob’s Ladder is one of my favorite movies though…
    Wouldn’t it be great if Hideo Kojima made a survival horror game?

  2. Zing!

    Fatal Frame beats both in creepy factor, But SH>>>>RE.

  3. The two are trying to do something very different. Pre-4 RE sought to scare via shock, whereas Silen Hill 1-3 were more psychological, seeking to disturb at far deeper levels. I remember someone saying that RE was like a Jason film, where SH is more along the lines of Hellraiser. Their goals and methods are just way too different to compare the two.

  4. I don’t know about that, MasterChef. I feel that since for a while these were the two big game series of the genre, we can easily compare the two. Metroid Prime and Halo may be two different games, but many game journalists compared the two when they first came out.

  5. I dunno Sheva Aloma is still enough to make wake up shreiking in the middle of the night, in fear that her AI might be carreid over to RE6. Besides that of course RE has never been scarey.

    Where this arguement becomes harder to determine however is if you take into account the series as a whole, where the awesomeness of SH 1-3 are dragged down by the crappyness of SH4, Origings and homecomming (though Origins >>>>> RE Gaiden XD. While RE has never been scarey and their stories have been hit and miss they have still been mostley solid. RE 1-3 and Code Veronica are solid games, RE4 was freaking amazing despite its cringeworthy narrative and is one of my top 5 games of all time and RE5 is like RE4 only it’s shorter and tries its level best to destroy the awesome gameplay of RE4. This is still a pretty solid lineup, provided you don’t take into account the RE railshooters and RE Gaiden, Resident Evil still feels like it has something left in the tank whereas Silent Hill is spent. The only way I could get excited about another silent hill game is if team silent returned as developers.

  6. Bup – Game “journalists” are about as intelligent as my left testicle with very few exceptions. To call Metroid Prime an FPS of any sort is silly.

  7. Oh…but MasterChief. Um. It’s played in the first person. …And you shoot things.

  8. Metroid Prime is not an FPS, that much is true.

    However, I think Nate is fairly justified in comparing the two series. Perhaps notsomuch now, but the Resident Evil series has long been revered for it’s supposed scariness. To me the series has never been all too frightening, and JUST NOW it seems the rest of the gaming world is waking up to this fact.

    Nate’s article is a commentary on this fact, in my eyes.

    (Great article, Nate.)

  9. Oh…but Riddles. Um. It’s played in the first person. …And you shoot things.

  10. Yes….but can we all agree that it has no exploration?